Posted on Nov 11th, 2008 by Allison (Family/Friends, Reminiscing)

Happy Birthday, Ashley Rae!

Happy Birthday, Ashley Rae!

Ashley sucked her thumb26 years ago today, the light of my life was born.   From the very beginning, Ashley had a sunny personality, spreading joy wherever she went – and her quickly earned her nickname “Ashley Rae of Sunshine.”  

She sucked her thumb, which was far more convenient thank a binkie which can get lost in the middle of the night, and stopped on her own.  She slept 7 hours a night even as an infant.  Such an easy child.   She was also bald as a cue ball until almost 2 years old – when her beautiful blonde hair came in thick and full of body.  And no obnoxious waves like her mother has.

Serious girl(Don’t you think she looks like her daughter Kennedy did at this age?)

She did give me grief a few times as a child. Twice, she got hold of a pair of scissors and cut her bangs off right to her scalp. I’m afraid I didn’t react very well.

Another time, when she was around four, she had been playing in her room and I went in to check on her. She was no where to be found. If you’re a parent who has ever throught their child was missing, you’ll understand how panicked I felt. I was frantic – called to her and searched the whole house – no response.

Ashley wants a kissI ran outside and enlisted the help of some neighbors who helped search the streets.

About an hour later, when I was about to call the police, I went into her room again and decided to search the closet again. I had looked before, but hadn’t taken everything out of the closet. I moved a little pile of stuffed animals and found Ashley sound asleep under a little pile of clothes.  

Ashley - age 5Ashley has always been beautiful, inside and out. On more than one occasion, I was stopped in a mall by total strangers asking if Ashley was a child model – or suggesting that she get an agent.

And she’s always been smart…. she taught herself to read words before she even entered kindergarten and got good grades all through school.  She is trained as an ASL interpreter, but is currently working at a law firm as a case administator (and they love her.)

(I’m her mom, I’m allowed to brag!)

Cover GirlAshley has always been very social and friendly.   When she was 5 or 6, we moved into one of the first homes in a new neighborhood.   As other homes were finished and new people moved in, I’d introduce myself and find out the new neighbors already knew who I was as Ashley had beat me to it.   She would take it upon herself to go knock on their doors and say, “Hi, my name is Ashley. I live over there. What’s your name?”   The neighborhood welcome wagon…

Age 10Ashley always loved to sing – but really blossomed at a 4th grade assembly. As part of the presentation the presenters asked a bunch of students to come up on the “magic carpet” and sing “A Whole New World” with them. Ashley raised her hand and joined about 20 students, singing as woman held the micorphone up to each student for a moment so they could be heard through the speaker.

Afterwards, the woman said, “As I was going around, I found one girl who I’d like to ask if she’d be willing to sing the song for all of you because she has such a beautiful voice.”  Yes, it was Ashley. I’m sure she was scared, as she’d never done anything like that before. But she did it. The woman handed Ashley the microphone, and kept her arm around her while she sang “A Whole New World,” all alone.

What a fabulous gift that woman gave to Ashley – and to the rest of us, since Ashley gained enormous confidence in her singing abilities from that experience.

Crazy for YouAshley went on to perform in featured/leading roles in musicals through Jr. and High School – the (shared) role of narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a featured singer in Alta’s Dinner Theatre – and the lead role of Polly in Crazy For You. She even auditioned for American Idol – TWICE! Talk about brave

Ashley on the cruiseAshley is such a thoughtful person. I have a drawer full of sweet notes, cards and letters she has sent over the years. Last year I received a surprise bouquet of gorgeous lillies for no special occasion – “just because.” I frequently hear from others how surprised and delighted they were to receive a personal thank you note from Ashley after giving a gift.

And she’s a very loving and accepting person who accepts and supports people as they are, and has friends of many political/religious/social persuasions.   She doesn’t have a mean spirited bone in her body and never feels the need to prove herself right (even when she is).  She’s perfectly content to accept that you may have a different view than she does. 

Ashley loves KennedyAshley is goofy and a total goon (like her brother), so fun to be around – and yet sophisticated and mature when the need arises.  She is also very adaptable, having been through more life changes and moves than most people her age. She just takes it all in stride and finds a home and friends wherever she finds herself.

Ashley is a great wife to Justin, and is also the best mom I know. I see her with Kennedy and am at amazed at her patience, consistency and calm reactions to the outbursts of a 4 year old. I have never heard seen or heard her lose her temper – not once.

Ashley & Allison

A lot of mom’s have great daughters.

It’s true.

But I don’t know how many of them get to call their daughter a dear and best friend.  I’m so lucky.  She continues to bring me joy and light up my life. Thanks for being YOU Ashley Rae…

Happy birthday, baby!

(16) Comments   


Michelle on November 11th, 2008 at 7:53 am

Thanks for making me cry first thing this morning. Every word is true, Ashley is a beautiful, smart, loving girl! How blessed you are to have each other… a well written and deserved tribute. Happy Birthday Ashley!

Ashley Rae on November 11th, 2008 at 8:07 am

Aw, mom. Thanks for giving me the first cry of the morning, as well :) Thank you, thank you! (Not so thank you for posting that awkward glasses picture, but I suppose it is YOUR blog and not mine) ;)

You’ve talked me up so much I might start getting a big head. :D Thanks for the fun stories… I’d forgotten about some of those.

I am the lucky one to have such an AWESOME mom. I love you!!!

Chris on November 11th, 2008 at 8:56 am

You are such a sweet, intelligent, amazing girl, Ashley! I am so glad to have gotten to know you better through all the blogs. Here’s to many more years of happiness and enjoying life and raising your beautiful daughter(s)!

Jana on November 11th, 2008 at 9:08 am

Happy Birthday Ashley! You are such a beautiful light in this world. Have a fabulous birthday.

Sarah on November 11th, 2008 at 11:05 am

Happy Birthday Ashley!

what a tribute. i even got a little teary-eyed at the end.

Debra on November 11th, 2008 at 11:06 am

Happy Birthday, Ashley. My oldest son, Kelvin, is 26 today also! Great day to be 26!!

paul on November 11th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Happy birthday! Have a geat day. from uncles Paul and Craig

Erica on November 11th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Happy birthday Ashley! What a sweet post. It’s been so fun getting to know you again Ashley through the blog world, love you and love you Allison!

Jeston on November 11th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Happy Birthday Ashley. Hope you can get up for another visit soon.

Ashley Rae on November 11th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Aw, thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes! It’s been a fabulous day (and it’s not over yet)!

Kristin on November 11th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Happy Birthday.

Ashley, you really are one of my very most favorite people in the world. I love to be around you. I’d start listing off some of the qualities you have that I admire, but your mom has already covered some of them, so I’ll just say that I am always so proud of you, whether it’s as a mom, as a friend, in your career, with your personal accompishments, and especially as a daughter. You really do light up all our lives.

Love you bunches.

Brittany on November 11th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

I love you and how cute is your mom? Happy birthday Ash. I hope you have had a splendid and wonderful birthday. I think you are a such an amazing friend and I love all of your random word vomit. Love ya, Britt

Kathleen on November 11th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Better late than never Ashley. I remember the day you were born. It seems like yesterday, yet here you are all grown up with a daughter of your own. I want to add my own love and best wishes, you truly are everything that has been written above by those who love you. I’m so lucky to have you for a niece I hope your day is as beautiful as you! xxx

irene on November 11th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Happy Birthday my beautiful ( inside and out) talented, intelligent, fun, compassionate special granddaughter. I love you more than tongue can tell.

Jean on November 12th, 2008 at 9:10 am

I am greatful for the opportunity to know you through your mothers eyes.. You are truly wonderful. Happy Birthday hope you enjoy every minute

Jennifer Pearce on November 12th, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Happy Birthday Ashley! Yes, what a beautiful and very true tribute! I’m so blessed to know you and have you as a sister-in-law. You truly are such an amazing person. Thank you for being you!!

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